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Libraries Dayton Law School

Prismatic lighting is functional, appealing
at the University of Dayton School of Law

“Stately” best describes the new Joseph E. Keller School of Law—the first structure visitors see when they drive beneath the arched entrance to The University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio. Considered one of the country’s premier law education facilities, the four-story, 127,000-square-foot structure combines modern and traditional architecture, blending brick and steel with glass and cherry.

When it came to lighting the public areas within the structure—including a four-story atrium—the lighting designer wanted the luminaires to enhance the building’s apearance and continue that theme of simple elegance. The system installed in the lobby and atrium, the law library and faculty lounge are teardrop-shaped Enhanced PrismGlo® Aurora® fixtures from Holophane.

“The objective was to create a comfortable, homey atmosphere for students and faculty while retaining an air of sophistication,” explained John Harpest, team manager, Heapy Engineering, Dayton. “While we were certainly concerned with functionality, visual appeal was equally important.”

Fixtures had to be versatile enough to effectively illuminate the various areas within the building, including the atrium and the open stairwell that leads to each floor. PrismGlo fixtures installed in the atrium are stem-mounted on custom mounting brackets attached to the tubular steel struts in the open metal deck ceiling. Stem length ranges up to 14 feet, with fixtures mounted as high as 44 feet off the main floor. Lamps used are 400-watt metal halide.

“The challenge here was to show the building’s scale. We wanted people to experience the magnitude of this open area,” Harpest described.

The black iron-railed stairwell that leads to each landing is illuminated by the Aurora fixtures mounted as wall sconces. The fixtures utilize 250- and 175-watt lamps—depending upon their location—with some of the units mounted as low as seven feet.

Wall-mounted Aurora luminaires are supplemented with nine-cell parabolic-louver compact fluorescent fixtures, each with three 13-watt lamps. Illumination levels in the atrium and lobby areas are 15 to 20 footcandles.

“Brightness was a concern because some of the luminaires are mounted directly above people climbing the stairs. Glare was also a question with the polished terrazo floors. However, because of the light control provided by the prismatic glass fixtures, glare has not been a problem. The atmosphere is bright but comfortable,” Harpest said.

Aurora fixtures are also installed in the book stack area of the third-floor law library. The library features a vaulted metal deck ceiling with tubular scissors trusses. A mezzanine overlooks the stacks, providing a view through the trusses. Lighting fixtures are centered on the vertical between the trusses so that they become a visual element within the truss layout. The stem-mounted fixtures are attached to the trusses and use 250-watt metal halide lamps. The bottom of the fixtures are almost 20 feet above the carpeted floor.

While the Aurora fixtures provide ambient light in the library, asymmetric wall wash fixtures with custom shrouds create drama in the form of uplight along the walls. Linear fluorescent fixtures are also installed horizontally above each stack to boost the light levels between the stacks. Although the book stacks are moveable, every fifth stack is stationary and contains the circuitry for the luminaires.

“The library has a homey and almost residential feel. Law students typically spend a great deal of time in the library, so it is important that the space appear inviting,” commented Harpest. Ambient light levels in the library are 40 to 50 footcandles—and are even higher in the stacks.

The lighting in the library was also designed to facilitate the use of computers. Each cherry study table includes data ports that allow students to plug in their personal computers to access online research. All tables have two incandescent study lamps in the center to supplement the ambient illumination.

A combination of Holophane Granville® and Washington® PostLite fixtures light the serpentine roadway leading to the law school and the area behind the building, which is adjacent to the parking lot. The fixtures use 250-watt high pressure sodium lamps and are controlled by a photocell and time clock. Harpest indicated the historic-looking luminaires were chosen because of their ability to place the light where it is needed. The luminaires are also similar in appearance to other fixtures installed near the law school site.

Heapy Engineering has recommended group relamping of all internal and external luminaires to avoid lamp burn-outs.

The University of Dayton School of Law is part of the largest private university in Ohio and the eighth-largest Catholic university in the country. The School has fewer than 500 law students, which promotes a sense of community and fosters individual accomplishment.


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